Lingfield Winter Million: Noble Yeats to return next month before Gold Cup-Grand National double bid | Racing News
Emmet Mullins has an eye on a famous Gold Cup-Grand National double with reigning Aintree hero Noble Yeats.
Still only an eight-year-old, the bay gelding may have been pulled up on his seasonal debut at Auteuil in October, but convincing wins in Wexford’s Listed M.W. Hickey Memorial Chase and, in particular, Aintree’s Many Clouds Chase have put him in the frame for the Boodles Gold Cup at the Cheltenham Festival in March.
A visit to Lingfield will come first as Mullins is targeting the Fleur De Lys Chase at the Winter Million meeting on Sunday week – live on Sky Sports Racing – after which all roads will lead to Cheltenham for the sport’s blue riband event.
“All going well we’re heading for Lingfield, that’s the plan at the moment,” the County Carlow trainer said.
“Maybe half the reason we’re going to Lingfield is so we don’t have to take on Willie (Mullins) and Gordon (Elliott) here. We pick and choose our races I think fairly well and try to get the most out of them.
“The Many Clouds slotted in nicely and we’ll keep tipping away without showing our hand until the day that matters.”
A Randox Grand National defence is still in the works, however, with the Robert Waley-Cohen-owned gelding aiming to emulate Golden Miller and L’Escargot as the only two horses to have won both the Gold Cup and the Grand National.
“The Gold Cup was on the radar for this year from the get-go. It was definitely on the agenda. We spoke with the Waley-Cohens and all going well he was going to be aimed for the Gold Cup and try to come back for the Grand National afterwards,” Mullins said.
“I definitely wouldn’t rule him out of the Gold Cup. It’s a stayers’ race and I can compare him to something like Hedgehunter, who won the Grand National and was second in a Gold Cup afterwards. I think he can be there or thereabouts.
“We’re still heading for the National and I suppose after our performance in the Many Clouds in Aintree, we won’t be looked after too well in the weights, but I think a horse like him grows in that scenario and I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t fancy our chances going back again.”
He added: “I hadn’t realised until I heard over the weekend that only two horses have won the Gold Cup and the Grand National. I suppose it adds to it, but I’ll be blocking that out anyway.
“Lucky for me and the horse it won’t register with us!”